Forum, Network and Resource for the Challenges of an Aging Society
How can we keep older adults connected?

How can we keep older adults connected?

December 7,  2017
Metta Fund, San Francisco

THE TAKEAWAY:  A huge thank you to our panel of speakers and moderator, Katy Hoepke from San Francisco Village, Katie Wade from Senior Center Without Walls, Cathy Michalec from Little Brothers- Friends of the Elderly, Keith Wong from the Felton Institute and Cathy Spensely, Director of Senior Division at the Felton Institute.

Here are some of the major points discussed this evening:

  1. Barriers to connection: Language (even within a family – especially in Chinese Community), quality of housing, transportation, lack of social care, shame (asking for help)and ageism.
  2. Isolation of Family Caregivers: More attention needs to be given to the social isolation of caregivers. They need better access to respite options.
  3. Connecting the connectors: The four panelists from four organizations who, in very different ways, address the social isolation, did not know each other. All agreed that there was room for collaboration.
  4. Volunteers: Find, match and motivate volunteers.  Many young people in SF want to make a difference. It is important to creating value for the volunteer and communicating the value. It is always a reciprocal relationship.
  5. Finding help: Not enough people know how to find the organizations who can help them. Nonprofits need the funds to invest in branding/marketing/outreach.

Ideas from the wrap-up brainstorming:

  • Resource guide for MDs.
  • Meeting between Chinese leaders and programs that address social isolation so that these services reach marginalized populations.
  • Start a conversation: How do we move towards intergenerational consciousness?
  • More arts in creative aging.
  • Make it an award/reward: Privilege to talk to an elder and learn about their aging experience and their perspective on how to manage this phase of life.
  • Involve arts in reducing shame.

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